An important part of studying in another country is learning about local history and culture. Just this week a group of students went to the historic ancient town of Rye to learn more about the history of 1066 country and to have a traditional home made afternoon tea.
Visiting Rye and having a traditional cream tea is one of the highlights of the summer calendar. All students, young and old, can’t wait for a freshly baked scone, clotted cream, and strawberry jam all washed down with a piping hot cup of traditional English tea.
Last week on a beautiful Thursday afternoon Ferdinand, our activity leader, took a group of students to Rye for the afternoon. They took the train from Hastings to Rye which takes about 20 mins. The way to Rye is through the beautiful English countryside. From the train Paul McCartney’s windmill is visible.
There is a small museum in Rye with a model of the town which shows the varied and interesting history of this small yet historically packed town. From the French invasions, setting fire to the town and stealing the church bell, to the smugglers trying to evade paying tax on alcohol. The historians tell you how the smugglers would warn each other when the guard was coming.
After learning about the history of Rye, the students then went on to visit Ypres Tower. This was built by King Henry 111 in 1249 to protect the town from invasion. The tower now has a very different use, many artefacts are displayed here including ancient maps, toys and games, ship building equipment it really is very interesting.
From there they went to St Mary’s Church which is over 900 years old. The history of the church bells is fascinating, being stolen by the French, then being taken back by the English….. The church tower is well worth the climb. The views are just breath taking.
So, from here the students went to the Corridor Cafe, in Rye High Street, for a traditional cream tea. The owner of the cafe welcomed the students and Ferdinand with open arms, in fact, they said it was like going to visit a friend of relative. The tables were laid with mismatching crockery but all very English.
The waitress put freshly baked scones, homemade strawberry jam, plenty of thick clotted cream and, a teapot of hot, freshly brewed tea on the table. From what I understand the room fell silent as the students ate their afternoon tea, or as Stefano called it an ‘Afternoon Feast’.